Tried this at FoBAB - served in the accompanying mini-pint taster glass.
A - Pour with zero foam - only a thin film and a few stray bubbles. Nice transparent red-brown color when held to the light.
Not sure if the CO2 was off or something, but I was expecting a little more for an on-tap brew.
S - Vanilla, oak, bourbon, over-the-top malts that evoke and then surpass any doppelbock I've tried. Milk chocolate, dark fruits, brown sugar. There's still a touch of alcohol heat - not sure when this went into the barrel or for how long, but the base beer is pretty old at this point.
T - A touch of light cardboard oxidization (Surly always seems to have problems at FoBAB - last year it was the Cherry Two). Very saccharine, vanilla, chocolate malt, dark fruits, biscuit, more bourbon and tannic bite in the finish. If it weren't for that persistent off-flavor this would be really excellent.
M - No problems here. Medium-thick body, chewy yet smooth. Low carbonation (obviously) - could have used a bit more, and I don't find myself saying that often.
D - I think this is past its prime - just tastes a little oxidized and stale at this point. I wish I got to try this (and the base beer) at Great Taste, as even six months might have made a difference.
750ml bottle given to me for my birthday. Best gift EVER!!! I could only wait a few days before I cracked this one. Poured into my 29oz Reidel snifter.
A - Pour produces a thick tan head of dense foam. Sticks around for a couple minutes, then reduces to a clump floating around and a thick bead around the edge of the glass. Body is a dark muddy brown and allows no light through.
S - Heavenly. The sweetness of this 9% lager plays off of the bourbon and vanilla aromas from the again perfectly. Bourbon is very present. Vanilla is huge. Lots of sweet fruits in here as well. My mother in law referes to regular one as "fig beer" and there is definitely some aroma to back that up.
T - Big and bold. Starts with this creamy vanilla flavor that is just huge and robust. You can't get away from the flavor. There's some creme brulee going on. Bourbon has toned down some since I had this last, but the other aspects of the barrel have not. Vanilla is the biggest flavor throughout. There is a distinct oakiness as well. Gets sort of sweet and sugary, almost like a dessert. Some nice fruitiness, with dark and red fruits coming along. Finish is creme brulee again, lingering in my mouth for a while.
M - Super smooth and creamy. Full bodied. Absolutely perfect.
Overall - Everytime I have this beer, I am blown away. It very might be my favorite beer. The way that the sweetness of this beer plays off of the bourbon and vanilla flavors is stunning. I can't find a flaw, and this gets my first perfect rating.
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